You didn’t get shortlisted for the job? Here’s why…

by | 10.06.21

While no one can tell you ‘exactly’ why you didn’t move on in the interview process, well the person who was recruiting can but they probably won’t. I can give you some reasons you may not always be able to figure out which one applies to you but I bet if you do some deep soul searching and review the interview you had in detail, you’ll recognise yourself in at least one these!

They found someone with more relevant experience

This is a very common excuse for you not going further. It’s the one most commonly used by employers who want to let you down gently. No one feels bad. You have you dignity intact but you learned absolutely nothing about what experience you might be lacking. Bear in mind some employers, especially if they are politically correct, have a policy of not providing constructive feedback. I can’t tell you the number of times we have tried to give constructive feedback to candidates in an effort to help them moving forward and most times it backfires on us. Some people just can’t take constructive criticism or don’t have the capacity to listen to what you are saying.

You were weak in a specific area

You may only have had some of the qualifications needed but the employers thought you were good enough to speak to you in the first place. Chin up, move on. Hey ho never mind, they may contact you again in the future if you made a good impression on them when they have a more suitable position. Maybe the candidate they chose will turn down the positon or not work out in the role and you never know they may come back to you. It happens all the time.

You didn’t do your research

Now we start to get into the nitty gritty of why you didn’t get invited back for a second interview – you didn’t do your research. Come on, honestly, how much time did you spend preparing for the interview. Did you know what the company did? Did you check them over on social media? Did you look at their website or you just liked the look of the job and applied, when you got the interview you were delighted but not motivated enough to learn as much as you could about the company and could not speak intelligently about why you wanted to work for them.

Your telephone skills are terrible

If you had a phone interview, did you find a nice quiet spot for the interview? Some place where you would be on your own, where you wouldn’t be interrupted? Some place where police sirens and horns honking won’t interrupt you. Don’t forget to charge you phone either. I can’t tell you how many phones have died when I have been talking to candidates or someone has told me their battery is low. Really? This is an interview, a telephone interview albeit, but just as important as a face to face interview. You need to be prepared and put as much effort and care into this type of interview than any other. You weren’t told to call for a casual chat but to see if you were good enough for the job the company are recruiting for. Muck this up and I promise you the job will not be offered to you.

You weren’t impressive enough

You had the name of the person who was interviewing you but did you research them? Did you know their background? Did you find any common interests with this individual that could be used as an icebreaker? It’s a good boost to someone’s ego if you know something about them. People like nothing better than talking about themselves and it will impress them that you have taken the time and trouble to look them up. Without doubt in an interview you need to leave a good impression and this is a great way of doing it. You want to be remembered not forgotten the moment you walk out the door.

You waffled your way through the interview

You have good, relevant experience that is right for the role but you could not articulate it. When asked a question instead of providing a clear answer you waffled on and on and on. You did not provide the interviewer with a clear picture of what you did in your last job. Maybe you used jargon or used terms that are only relevant in your current role. If the interviewer had to interrupt you at any point you know you have talked too much. Respond confidently, clearly and succinctly to any question you are asked and use plain English, don’t try to be too clever.

You failed the “tell me about yourself” question

When you are asked this question the employer doesn’t want to know your life history. They are not asking you about the nursey or junior school you attended what swimming certificates you gained and about your time in the cubs or girl guides. They mean “tell me about yourself” in a business sense. The interviewer wants a short and I mean very short synopsis of your career to date not a thirty minute life story. If you see the interviewer yawn or fidget you know you have gone on too long so stop at this point.

You didn’t ask any questions

When asked at the end of interview “do you have any questions” you must ask some. Maybe not about the job because a good recruiter should have gone thoroughly through the job with you but maybe more general questions. Perhaps you could ask about the people you would be working with, or the management style of the line manager you would have or a great question would be “what you would expect me to achieve in the first three months of my employment with you”. This is a wonderful question as it shows the interviewer you can see yourself in the role and with the company.

What were your wearing?

Whether your interview was in person or online did you dress appropriately. Did you look your absolute best? Or were you a scruffy oiik? First impressions are important, they say an interviewer makes up their mind whether you have the job within two minutes of meeting you. So apart from looking good remember to take an extra copy of  your CV with you , make good eye contact with the interviewer and if touching is allowed ( I  mean after covid) give a firm handshake.

Were you on time?

Last but not least – were you on time? Always, always, always know exactly where you are going. Get to the interview early and hang about outside if necessary. Don’t expect buses and trains to be on time and allow for traffic to be heavy and it being difficult to find a parking spot. There is simply no excuse for being late for an interview. If you can’t be on time for one of the most important career days in your life what will you be like if they gave you the job and you have to come into work every day? Lateness is unforgivable and will definitely put an employer off.

So now you know why you are not getting a job, or at least not getting to second interview stage. The name of the game is sort yourself out. Look at yourself carefully and honestly. Are you really making an effort, are you applying for the right jobs, are you doing research and are you leaving a positive impression at the interview. Re-evaluate what you are doing and tweak your style then I promise you will find yourself shortlisted for every role you apply for.

Good Luck

Angela Burton